Island's Emergency Services express Concern for Youths as summer holidays begin
RELEASED TO MEDIA ON FRIDAY 17 JULY AT 10:00 AM
TWO of the Island's emergency services are asking parents to keep an eye on their child's welfare as the summer holidays commence.
As the schools break up, both the States of Jersey Police and Jersey's Ambulance Service, who run joint patrols when demand allows, are asking parents for their help to ensure that children and teenagers do not get into situations where they could be vulnerable, breaking the law, or exposed to harm.
˜From a welfare point of view, we do have serious concerns about the levels of alcohol abuse amongst teenagers,' said Richard D'Ulivo-Rogers, Station Officer and Paramedic at the Ambulance Service.
˜While we don't want to inhibit our young people from enjoying their well earned rest and relaxation we are seeing increasing numbers of very young teenagers who are drinking huge amounts of alcohol with serious health and safety implications.
˜In recent weeks one 13 year old girl was picked-up from the area of the sand dunes wearing nothing but her underwear, and she was so grossly intoxicated that the two men who bundled her into their vehicle could have been anyone “ fortunately on this occasion they were an ambulance crew. Her blood alcohol level was subsequently found to be 4 times the legal limit for an adult to drive.
On another occasion, we were told about an 11 year old boy during a Friday afternoon, not late in the evening, was discovered by a couple in some woods on his own. He was unconscious due to his consumption of a bottle of vodka. The direct effects of the alcohol itself will cause his collapse but prior to this he could aimlessly wander around placing his physical safety in jeopardy. These woods are precariously close to cliffs.
˜We are aware that "Sleeping out during the summer months should be a fun activity but we are trying to impress upon teenagers that when they are grossly intoxicated they are very vulnerable from inhaling vomit, blood poisoning, neurological damage leading to coma and hypothermia due to the effects of alcohol and exposure.
Of equal concern is that grossly intoxicated youngsters whose inhibitions are significantly altered and are incapable of fending off unwelcome sexual advances from friends or strangers, place themselves in extremely vulnerable and dangerous situations. It is also important that whilst the illegal supply of alcohol to teenagers is a concern, the Ambulance Service priority is the safety of our patients.
˜In essence we are asking teenagers to respect themselves and take responsibility for their health and well-being.'
Inspector Alan Williamson of the States of Jersey Police added: ˜For the past few years now, the States of Jersey Police have run a campaign called ˜Your Child, Your Responsibility', which reminds parents that we need their help to ensure the safety of their children. We're not trying to spoil anyone's fun or free time, but we also have a duty to ensure that the majority of people who live in Jersey aren't disturbed by a minority who might be drunk, rowdy or misbehaving.'
˜The summer holidays are busy times for us, and we have to balance the enjoyment of young people with the lifestyles of others. Both ourselves and the Ambulance Service ask parents to ensure that they help their teenagers to make informed decisions and that they know where they are notwithstanding that many of the teenagers we pick-up are found anywhere but where the parents have been told they will be.
˜Our current radio advertising campaign, which runs for the next three weeks highlights this, and we hope that it will strike a chord with parents.
So far this year a total of 470 youth arrests have been made compared to 386 for the same period last year. In 2008, the middle two months of August were our busiest weeks for complaints about youths. However, we would stress that complaints about youths d"s not necessarily equate to more crime; it could just be people calling about noisy groups or parties. We are keen to work with young people, as our colleagues at the Youth Action team and our community officers do already, as well as our colleagues the Honorary Police.
However, we would urge all parents to help us, to know where their children are. Please ask your children where they will be, who they'll be with and what they'll be doing. We will contact parents in some cases, and let them know that their child has come to the attention of the Police where appropriate. ˜
Both the States of Jersey Police and the Ambulance Service have spokespeople available for comment today.
For further details please call duty officer Insp Alan Williamson at the States of Jersey Police on 612405 and station officer Richard D'Ulivo-Rogers at the Ambulance Service on 07797 918463. Richard is not available between 11 am and 12 noon.
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